US Federal Communications chairman Ajit Pai (pictured) backed out of a planned appearance at CES 2018 less than a week before the show is scheduled to kick off.

Pai was on the agenda to sit on a panel with acting Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen for a “candid conversation” about how regulators navigate technological changes. Consumer Technology Association (CTA) CEO Gary Shapiro was set to moderate the session.

The FCC did not comment on Pai’s withdrawal from the event. In a statement, CTA said only that Pai was “unable to attend” and it looks forward to “our next opportunity to host a technology policy discussion with him before a public audience”. Ohlhausen will appear as scheduled.

Pai’s appearance was highly anticipated in the wake of the FCC’s controversial move to repeal net neutrality, however it is possible safety concerns played a role in the cancellation: the repeal proceedings in December were interrupted by a security alert.

The meeting resumed after a delay of around ten minutes, but Pai was visibly shaken.